One of my favorite questions for years has been “would you trade 10% of your appearance for 10% more intelligence or vice versa”? The answers often surprise me. And no, I wouldn’t.

People have been paying to improve their appearance for years, everything from anti-aging products to hair highlighting to full blown plastic surgery. Some do this for pure vanity, others believe it will help them be more successful (in their career, in finding a spouse, etc). And yes, I do some of these things.

So if there were a proven way to increase intelligence, would people pay for it? Maybe because they are vain about their brain… Or because they believe it will make them more successful?

It seems the market is there, for adults and for their children. I met an old colleague and friend yesterday for coffee who left his corporate job a couple years ago to start a franchise of a brain training company. For now, in this economy, he’s focusing on kids, but he’s still getting a fair number of adult clients, including doctors and attorneys who don’t want to advertise what they are doing to improve their performance on their tests or in their daily work.

This company, LearningRX, has proven their ability to improve IQ by 15 points. Higher IQ may not do anything other than increase people’s egos. Most people (including me) don’t even know their IQ. But this company also has data to prove they can improve processing power as well as short and long term memory. That’s a little more interesting.

It is a big investment. Multiple one on one sessions per week over six months costing thousands of dollars. The training sounds kind of hard, maybe even frustrating. But once you are done, your brain is improved for the rest of your life.

My boyfriend (who is the financial planner in our relationship), thinks I’m a little insane for even talking about this. But maybe I can convince him that with a little more processing power and memory, I’ll be even better at my job and pay back the investment. No, I’m not really going to do it, probably more because of time than money, but I am intrigued…

For now I’ll focus on all the other things that have been proven to improve brain power: exercise, nutrition, sleep, reducing stress, etc. But I’ll keep my eyes on this. I do think it is fascinating.